Ibulliance: By the Numbers

What does it mean to invest in women globally? Let’s look at the hard data.  

ECONOMICS: Investing in gender equality could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025, says research from McKinsey Global Institute. 

EDUCATION: For every additional year of education a girl receives, she can boost her adult earnings by 20%, according to UNESCO.

BUSINESS: Companies led by women perform 63 percent better than those led by men over a 10-year period; women-led or gender-diverse leadership teams are 21% more likely to be more profitable than those led exclusively by men. (Patience Marime-Ball and Ruth Shaber in The XX Edge, reported in The Philadelphia Citizen)

POVERTY REDUCTION: Investing in women's economic opportunity, including credit access and employment opportunities, reduces overall levels of poverty in any country, according to data from the World Bank.

POLITICS: Countries with a higher proportion of women in parliament have stronger social and economic policies, reports the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

MATERNAL HEALTH: Investing in women's health, particularly maternal health, contributes to the well-being of all family members and the productivity of communities, according to UNICEF data.

And yet… in the world of venture capital funding, women owned businesses receive only 2% (2!) of overall investments, according to Pitchbook, reported in Forbes. Now, that’s a cookie crumbler. 

I don’t think I have to say this—you know that the Ibu Movement is not just about supporting artisans. It’s about investing in women. When women use their skills to earn a respectful and sustainable livelihood, what opens up is all of the above.  

So, do our Ibu artisan partners embody these numbers? Here’s our data:

In Guatemala, our partners at Mercado Global report that their artisans are three times more likely to have their own bank account than other women in their communities, and to fill it with living wages under their control.

In Nigeria, entrepreneur Hassana Yusuf removed the pay discrimination rampant in her city by employing women directly to do skilled embroidery; women who now earn income equal to their male counterparts. 

In Morocco, Cherry Buttons Cooperative cut out the middlemen profiting from their labor so that women can now earn a living wage. 

In Afghanistan, Kandahar Treasure teaches business and personal skills to girls who are forbidden to attend school.

In Kenya, our partners at SaTuBo bring their children from three tribal groups together for school, building lasting friendships among formerly-hostile groups; crafting peace, and offering them collectively a better education.

In Colombia, the Wayuu collaborated with Ibu to build a workspace for women and a new school for girls and boys next to it—leading to better choices for both mothers and daughters.

In northern Kenya, a BeadWORKS Star Beader, Meroni Leruso, is running for public office in order to provide other women with similar opportunities to the ones she has achieved.

In Pakistan, Samina Mahmud is not only employing women but reinvigorating a lapsed weaving mill and employing men to provide fabric for the women embroiderers.

When I see the hard data—that we can impactfully change the world by elevating women in each part of it—well, it sets me on fire.  

And when I see how little is now invested in women, I think, what an opportunity! Even a small investment in women leads to enormous change. So much can be done to repair the broken places of the world, and women—with fair income, work, education, health care, and respect—will do it. 

Look for a big opportunity in our Friday mailer—on International Women’s Day—to make these numbers sing.

All the Best,